November 9, 2016
November 6, 2016
Chhath is an ancient Hindu Vedic festival dedicated to the Hindu God Sun (सूर्य देव) & Chhathi Maiya (ancient Vedic Goddess ;Historically native to North Bihar of India.The Chhath Puja is performed in order to thank Surya for sustaining life on earth and to request the granting of certain wishes. This festival is observed by Indians along with their diaspora.The Sun, considered as the god of energy and of the life-force, is worshiped during the Chhath festival to promote well-being, prosperity, and progress. In Hinduism, Sun worship is believed to help cure a variety of diseases, including leprosy, and helps ensure the longevity and prosperity of family members, friends, and elders.The rituals of the festival are rigorous and are observed over a period of four days. They include holy bathing, fasting and abstaining from drinking water (Vratta), standing in water for long periods of time, and offering prashad (prayer offerings) and arghya to the setting and rising sun.Although the festival is observed most elaborately in Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand, and eastern UP, it is also more prevalent in areas where migrants from those areas have a presence. It is celebrated in all Northern regions and major Northern urban centers in India. The festival is celebrated in the regions including but not exclusive to the northeast region of India, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Bangalore but all over the globe including Mauritius, Fiji, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, Jamaica, other parts of the Caribbean, United States, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Macau, Japan, Indonesia, and Nepal.SOURCE--WIKIPEDIA
November 1, 2016
BHAI DOOJ / BHAI TIKKA / BHAI BEEJ / BHAI PHONTA is a festival celebrated by Hindus all over India on the last day of the five-day-long Diwali festival. This is the second day of the bright fortnight or Shukla Paksha of the Hindu lunar month of Kartika in Bikram Sambat.The celebrations of this day are similar to the festival of Raksha Bandhan. On this day, sisters get gifts from brothers. BHAI DOOJ / BHAI TIKKA in entire Northern part of India, observed on the last day of the five-day Diwali festival. This is also the second day of the Vikrami Samvat New Year, the calendar followed in Northern India (including Kashmir), which starts from the lunar month of Kārtika. The first day of this New Year is observed as Govardhan Puja. Another name for the second day is Yamadwitheya or Yamadvitiya, after a legendary meeting between Yama the god of Death and his sister Yamuna (the famous river) on Dwitheya (the second day after new moon). According to a popular legend in Hindu mythology, after slaying the evil demon Narkasur, Lord Krishna visited his sister Subhadra who gave him a warm welcome with sweets and flowers. She also affectionately applied tilak on Krishna's forehead. Some believe this to be the origin of the festival.
On the day of the festival, sisters invite their brothers for a sumptuous meal often including their favorite dishes/sweets. The whole ceremony signifies the duty of a brother to protect his sister, as well as a sister's blessings for her brother. Carrying forward the ceremony in traditional style, sisters perform aarti for their brother and apply a red tikka on the brother's forehead. This tikka ceremony on the occasion of BHAI TIKKA signifies the sister's sincerest prayers for the long and happy life of her brother. In return brothers bless their sisters and treat them also with gifts or cash. BHAI TIKKA is a time for family reunions as all brothers and sisters in the family get together. Close relatives and friends are also invited to celebrate the BHAI TIKKA in many families.SOURCE--WIKIPEDIA.
October 31, 2016
Goverdhan puja(Annakoot) translated as “a mountain of food”, is a Hindu festival on the fourth day of a five-day festival of Diwali, in which devotees prepare and offer a large variety of vegetarian food to the murtis of Paramatma(God) as a mark of gratitude. For Vaishnavas, this day commemorates the incident in the Bhagavata Puran when Krishna lifted Govardhan hill on his pinky to provide the villagers of Vrindavan shelter from torrential rains. The incident is seen to represent how God will protect all devotees who take singular refuge in him. Devotees offer a mountain of food, metaphorically representing the Govardhan hill, to God as a ritual remembrance and to renew their faith in taking refuge in God. The festival is observed by Hindus in India and all over the world. The Annakut festival occurs on the first lunar day of Shukla Paksha (bright fortnight) of the Hindu calendar month of Kartik, which is the fourth day of Deepawali (Diwali), the Hindu festival of lights, and also the first day of the Vikram Samvat calendar. While the first three days of Diwali are days of prayer to sanctify wealth and invite greater wealth into the devotee’s life, the Annakut day is a day of offering gratitude for God’s beneficence.
October 30, 2016
Diwali (Deepavali) is India's big festival. Diwali means rows of lighted lamps. It is a festival of lights and all Indian Hindus celebrate it. During this festival, people light up their houses and shops. They worship Lord Ganesh for good welfare and prosperity and people also worship goddess Lakshmi for wealth and wisdom.This festival is celebrated in the Hindu month of Kartik which falls sometime during October or November. It is celebrated to mark the return of Lord Ram from 14 years of exile and his victory over the demon Ravan. In many parts of India, Diwali is celebrated for five consecutive days and is one of the most popular festivals in India. Hindus regard it as a celebration of life and use the occasion to strengthen family and relationships. In some parts of India, it marks the beginning of the new year. It is celebrated not only in India but also abroad. The Hindus worship the god Ganesh during Diwali.
Firecrackers, which use sulphur and paper, put sulphur dioxide and charcoal into the air so crackers are now forbidden in silent zones i.e. near hospitals, schools and courts.
Hindus light up their homes and shops, to welcome the goddess of wealth and fortune, Lakshmi to welcome her in to give them good luck for the year ahead. A few days before Ravtegh, which is the day before Diwali, houses, buildings, shops and temples arc thoroughly cleaned, white-washed and decorated with pictures, toys and flowers. On the Diwali day, people put on rich clothes, exchanging greetings, gifts and sweets on this day.
At night, buildings are illuminated with earthen lamps, candlesticks and electric bulbs. Sweets and toy shops are decorated to attract the passers-by. The bazaars and streets are overcrowded. People buy sweets for their own families and also send them as presents to their friends and relatives. At night, Goddess Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, is worshipped in the form of earthen images and silver rupee. People believe that on this day, Hindu Goddess Laxmi enters only those houses which are neat and tidy. People offer prayers for their own health, wealth and prosperity. They leave the light on in buildings in their belief that Goddess Laxmi will find no difficulty in finding her way in.SOURCE--WIKEPEDIA
October 29, 2016
CHHOTI DIWALI also known as NARAKA CHATURDASHI is a Hindu festival, which falls on Chaturdashi (14th day) of the Krishna Paksha of the Ashvin month, which is the second day of the five-day-long festival of Diwali. The Hindu literature narrates that the asura (demon) Narakasura was killed on this day by Krishna, Satyabhama and Kali. The day is celebrated by early morning religious rituals and festivities followed on.The festival is also called as "Kali Chaudas", where Kali means dark (eternal) and Chaudas means fourteenth, this is celebrated on the 14th day of the dark half of Ashvin month. In some regions of India, Kali Chaudas is the day allotted to the worship of Mahakali or Shakti and is believed that on this day Kali killed the asura (demon) Narakasura. Hence also referred to as Naraka-Chaturdashi, Kali Chaudas is day to abolish laziness and evil which create hell in our life and shine light on life.The puja is performed with oil, flowers, and sandalwood. Coconuts are also offered to Hanuman and Prasad of sesame seed, jaggery and rice flakes (poha) with ghee and sugar.
The rituals of Kali Choudas is strongly suggestive of the origin of Diwali as a harvest festival is performed. On this day delicacies are prepared from pounded semi-cooked rice (called Poha or Pova). This rice is taken from the fresh harvest available at that time. This custom is prevalent both in rural and urban areas especially in Western India.On this day, a head wash and application of kajal in the eyes is believed to keep away the kali nazar (evil eye). Some say that those who are into tantra, learn their 'mantras' on this day. Alternatively, people offer Nivet is local to where they are originally from. This goddess is called their Kul Devi, in order to cast off evil spirits. Some families also offer food to their forefathers on this day. The second day of Diwali is known as Kali Choudas in Gujarat, Rajasthan & few part of Maharashtra.
On this day Hindus get up earlier than usual. The men will rub their bodies in perfumed oils before bathing. Afterwards, clean clothes are worn; some people wear new ones. A large breakfast is enjoyed with relatives and friends. In the evening, a mix of bright and loud fireworks are set off in an atmosphere of joyful fun and noise. Special sweet dishes are served as part of the midday meal. House are lit with oil lamps during the evening.
In Goa, paper-made effigies of Narakasura, filled with grass and firecrackers symbolising evil, are made. These effigies are burnt at around four o'clock in the morning and then firecrackers are burst, and people return home to take a scented oil bath. Lamps are lit in a line. The women of the house perform aarti of the men, gifts are exchanged, a bitter berry called kareet is crushed under the feet in token of killing Narakasura, symbolising evil and removal of ignorance. Different varieties of Poha and sweets are made and eaten with family and friends.SOURCE--WIKEPEDIA
October 28, 2016
Dhanteras is the first day of the Diwali.The festival is known as "Dhanatrayodashi" or "Dhanvantari Trayodashi".It is celebrated on the thirteenth lunar day of Krishna paksha (dark fortnight) in the Vikram Sambat Hindu calendar month of Dhanvantari is worshipped on the occasion of Dhanvantari Trayodashi. Dhanvantari is considered to be the teacher of all physicians and the originator of Ayurveda.
Although Dhanteras has become associated with wealth and people buy gold or silver jewellery and utensils on this day, there is no association of either wealth or gold with Dhanvantari, who is a provider of good health rather than wealth.
On the day of Dhantrayodashi Goddess Lakshmi came out from the ocean of milk during the churning of the Sea. Hence, Goddess Lakshmi, along with Lord Kuber is worshiped on the day of Trayodashi.
An ancient legend describes the occasion to an interesting story about the 16-year-old son of King Hima. His horoscope predicted his death by snake-bite on the fourth day of his marriage. On that particular day, his newly-wed wife did not allow him to sleep. She laid out all her ornaments and lots of gold and silver coins in a heap at the entrance of the sleeping chamber and lit lamps all over the place. Then she narrated stories and sang songs to keep her husband from falling asleep. The next day, when Yama, the god of Death arrived at the prince's doorstep in the guise of a Serpent, his eyes were dazzled and blinded by the brilliance of the lamps and the jewellery. Yama could not enter the Prince's chamber, so he climbed on top of the heap of gold coins and sat there the entire night listening to the stories and songs. In the morning, he silently went away. Thus, the young prince was saved from the clutches of death by the cleverness of his new bride, and the day came to be celebrated as Dhanteras. The following day came to be called Naraka Chaturdashi ('Naraka' means hell and Chaturdashi means 14th). It is also known as ‘Yamadeepdaan’ as the ladies of the house light earthen lamps or ‘deep’ and these are kept burning throughout the night glorifying Yama, the God of Death. Since this is the night before Diwali, it is also called 'Chhoti Diwali'.
According to another popular legend, when the Gods and demons churned the ocean for Amrita or nectar, Dhanvantari (the physician of the Gods and an incarnation of Vishnu) emerged carrying a jar of the elixir on the day of Dhanteras.
On the day of Dhanteras, business premises are renovated and decorated. Entrances are made colorful with lanterns and traditional motifs of Rangoli designs to welcome the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity. To indicate her long-awaited arrival, small footprints are drawn with rice flour and vermilion powder all over the houses. Lamps are kept burning all through the night.
On Dhanteras Hindus consider it auspicious to purchase gold or silver articles or at least one or two new utensils. It is believed that new "Dhan" or some form of precious metal is a sign of good luck. "Lakshmi Puja" is performed in the evenings when tiny Diyas of clay are lit to drive away the shadows of evil spirits. "Bhajans", devotional songs in praise of Goddess Lakshmi, are also sung.
Dhanteras is celebrated with gusto and enthusiasm.And "Naivedya" of traditional sweets is offered to the Goddess. There is a peculiar custom in Maharashtra to lightly pound dry coriander seeds (Dhane in Marathi for Dhanatrayodashi) with jaggery and offer as Naivedya.In villages, cattle are adorned and worshiped by farmers as they form the main source of their income. SOURCE--WIKEPEDIA.